You should consider climate change strategies before heading to the polls Image

You should consider climate change strategies before heading to the polls

By Sam Reiss on Oct 16, 2019

As we near the federal election, I have one thing on my mind aside from housing - protecting the environment and fighting climate change (though this is connected to new housing development). 

Recently, Toronto Mayor John Tory traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to take part in the C40 World Mayors Summit to discuss green strategies with other business and municipal leaders. 

"I was honoured to represent Toronto and our commitment to addressing climate change at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen this past week,” said Tory. “This summit was an opportunity for cities to share experiences, learn from each other and find ways to work together on our shared focus on tackling the global climate emergency. Toronto is committed to working with our residents, businesses and the federal and provincial governments to address the impact of climate change. The low-carbon transformation of key sectors is well underway and is creating jobs and improving prosperity for Torontonians."

Tory presented Toronto’s Green Will Initiative, which brings together public buildings and commercial landowners, accounting for 300 million square feet of built space, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the course of five years. 

A new goal for the TransformTO Climate Action Strategy was also announced. By next year, Toronto is aiming to reduce GHG emissions by 30% (based on 1990 levels). By 2030, GHG emissions will be reduced by 65%, and by 2050 (or sooner), the City wants to be net-zero, which means Toronto should be generating as much or more renewable energy than what is being used on an annual basis.

Some may call these energy goals unrealistic, but I’d rather the City set unrealistic goals, strive to hit them, then fail, and then continue to innovate to achieve net-zero energy, rather than set the bar low and then pat themselves on the back for doing an okay job.  

When I heard Tory’s net-zero goal, the first thing I thought of was the NDP and the Green Party, the latter of which is trailing in the polls, but the former is actually on the rise (not that polls matter much). The NDP wants to update the National Building Code to make it so that every new building being built in Canada meets net-zero standards by 2030. The Liberals also have a net-zero strategy; a grant of up to $5,000 for newly built net-zero homes. 

One of the latest polls conducted by Ipsos for Global News reported the Liberals dropping five percentage points, the Conservatives falling by two points, and the NDP up five points (20% of the popular vote). With municipal government striving for net-zero standards in the largest city in Canada and a federal party with ambitious net-zero goals, the shift towards NDP is not that surprising. 

In my eyes, an energy efficient home is a high quality home, and I’m always on the side of a well built residence. I’m happy to see the City of Toronto setting ambitious energy goals, and you can probably expect support for the NDP to keep rising leading up to voting day (October 21st). 

All the leading federal parties have some sort of green strategy, so do your research before you head to the polls next Monday! 

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